computer repair in schaumburgCheck this out, in case you ever wondered what it is we actually do @ Zombie Techs, check out this video. It’s a clip of one of our best guys Cameron, pulling a bad chip off of this old motherboard. He then goes on to replace it with a working one again. There’s no shops in the area that do work like this so if you ever have a problem at places like Best Buy or other major retailers and they tell you that your phone or computer can’t be fixed, think twice! We actually perform repairs like this all day long so we’re well qualified to tell you for sure whether or not your computer or cell phone can be fixed. We actually repair countless phones and computers that supposedly get written off as impossible repair by big box stores when really they just want you to buy a brand new computer or sign up for their next contract and BS like that. Don’t buy it, come check us out and see if we can do anything to help before you take their advice.

Sidenote: just this week we fixed two Samsung Galaxies which were supposedly “unfixable” and had to be replaced as well as an iPhone 5s with water damage. Know what I mean?

Major props to Cameron who actually performed this repair successfully, he made one of our clients very happy because they didn’t want to let go of that laptop, now they’re using it like brand new. Anyways, we try not to bash the big guys but check out this scathing article by the Wall Street Journal:

Back in the old days—say, 2006—when we needed a computer repaired, we turned to the shop down the street. These were tech-minded guys who seemed to have too much time on their hands, but who could still never fix our busted laptop soon enough.

Now, the local shops face big competition. In 2008, Office Depot Inc. ODP +0.18% rolled out its Tech Depot service at its stores nationwide. “Let our techs get your PC to operate at peak performance,” the company touts, saying that it can handle everything from basic software installations to major repairs and upgrades. Staples Inc., the office-supply retail chain, expanded its EasyTech computer services to all of its stores in 2007.

Rob Shepperson

And electronics retail giant Best Buy Co.BBY +2.37% is seeing its seven-year-old joint operating agreement with the Geek Squad, a technology-service provider that focuses especially on computers, continue to flourish. Its national service center, Geek Squad City near Louisville, Ky., receives about 1,500 repair and other orders daily.

To find out how good these corporate services are we took four problematic computers—two laptops and two desktops—and headed out on a repair mission. We quickly learned that just because a repair outfit is connected to a big company doesn’t mean it’s efficient.

Our first stop was Staples, where a repair for a problematic desktop dragged on for about a week and involved four visits to the store. When we first brought in the machine, which was essentially not running, we were told by one of Staples’ “EasyTechs” that it shouldn’t take long to evaluate. True to her promise, the tech got back to us that night with word they needed to do an operating system restore, and that we needed to bring in the system disk to proceed with the repair.

But after that, things went awry: A different tech said repairs were delayed because they were very busy. And when we came to pick up the supposedly fixed computer, we were told it was now on the fritz again. A day later, we got the final verdict: The computer was hopelessly broken. Although the desktop could now boot up, it still had problems shutting down, and a bad motherboard was the suspected culprit.

To Staples’ credit, an apologetic tech charged us only the basic diagnostic fee of $75—we had originally expected to pay close to $200 for the full operating-system restore—and said this was the most difficult job he had yet encountered. We appreciated the store’s determination to get things right, but we left wondering: What about those Staples “Easy” buttons that promise to make solving problems simple?

A Staples spokeswoman said, “We are definitely looking at ways to increase our speed while maintaining a high level of service.”

With Office Depot, the experience went a lot smoother, though we admit that the slow-running desktop we brought to them was in need of only a minor tune-up. In fact, it took all of about six hours for the work to be done; we dropped the computer off in the afternoon and the $200 work order was completed by that night. The price included installation of a security program the tech recommended that would have cost us about $40 if we had bought it ourselves.

We especially liked the fact that Office Depot does a quick (about 10-minute) free diagnostic of the computer while you’re waiting in the store, including a report that shows you what’s not functioning properly and to what degree. (By contrast, other repair providers looked briefly at our computers but didn’t go into such detail.)

But we had doubts about the Office Depot technician’s qualifications. While he seemed to know computer basics, when we asked why he was suggesting a different security program than the one we already had installed, he couldn’t give us a satisfactory answer beyond saying it’s the program that Office Depot generally recommends. We wondered if this was because the tech who handled our order was a store employee who also had non-tech responsibilities. Indeed, he was the same person who helped us shop for an office chair a few weeks earlier.

An Office Depot spokesman said that while the company’s techs do double in other capacities, they also receive thorough computer training.

Our next stop was Best Buy’s Geek Squad, which is well known for its tie-wearing techs—in other words, they dress like geeks. In all, the company did a solid job with our computer—in this case, a slow-running laptop. While Geek Squad didn’t offer a thorough pre-diagnostic evaluation like we had at Office Depot, they did get back to us within a day with a report. And we appreciated the email acknowledgment of our order—”We’re on it,” it said. An annoyance: When we tried to call them by phone on several occasions, they didn’t pick up.

The verdict on our computer wasn’t good: It had a bad hard drive. Still, we liked the fact that the technician explained the repair options and costs. We decided it wasn’t worth spending about $260 to fix an out-of-date laptop, in addition to the $70 diagnostic fee we already paid.

Lastly, we sought help with a slow-running Apple MacBook by mailing it to IResQ in Olathe, Kan. The company bills itself as the “nation’s premier” service center for all things Mac, working on thousands of computers shipped to it annually from across the country. Having used IResQ before, we can say its appeal is the generally quicker turnaround time and cheaper pricing it offers versus Apple itself. In this instance, IResQ got the job done—they suggested a memory upgrade, which ran $200 on top of the shipping and diagnostic fee. (We paid $59 for round-trip overnight shipping; ground shipping is $30.)

But customer service left something to be desired. It took about four hours from the time we placed the order until we received an email with the overnight-shipping label we’d paid for. (We called twice to complain, once because of the delay and again when the company emailed the wrong type of shipping label.) By the time the mistake was corrected, it was too late to send out the computer that day, effectively negating the reason we had paid for overnight shipping in the first place.

An IResQ spokesman said such shipping issues are being addressed.

In the end, we can’t say going the big-company route is always the better option when getting a computer fixed. You might not have to contend with the idiosyncrasies of your neighborhood repair shop or provider. But you might be trading that for a whole new set of hassles.

COMPANY Cost Time Comment
Best Buy (Geek Squad) $70 for diagnostic service. If we replaced the broken hard drive that was uncovered during the initial evaluation, it would have run approximately another $250 for equipment and work. It took one day for the company to back to us with the diagnostic report – well within the expected time. The geeks appeal on several levels – not only do they know their stuff, but they also have a customer-waiting area (that wasn’t the case with other repair places). We just wish they always answered their phone.
Office $200 for diagnostic service, tune-up and installation of a new security program (the program was included in the price). A brief in-store pre-diagnostic service was free. It took a mere six hours from the time we brought in the computer for the evaluation and work to be completed – the fastest of all our repair outfits. An efficient operation, but we were somewhat bothered by the fact the “tech” was a regular store employee who previously sold us an office chair. An Office Depot spokesman explained that while techs do double in other capacities, they also receive thorough computer training. $75 for diagnostic service. The company didn’t charge us for a system restore we okayed – it would have added about $125 to the bill – because it couldn’t fully fix the computer. About a week. We won’t hold it against Staples that it took us a few extra days to pick up the computer after we were told it was ready. But when we arrived, we learned it was still acting up, dragging out the process another day. So much for going the famed Staples “Easy” route. The repair process dragged on too long, with the aforementioned misdiagnosis and another delay because the store was busy. A Staples spokeswoman said, “We are definitely looking at ways to increase our speed while maintaining a high level of service.” $59 for diagnostic service and shipping, $200 for a recommended memory upgrade. Three days from the time we requested the work to the time we received the computer back. There was a one-day delay because the company could not email us the proper shipping label in time. IResQ definitely knows its Macs – its technicians seem fully versed in all the models and possible upgrades. That said, we were bothered by the apparent lack of concern regarding the shipping snafu. A company spokesman said such shipping issues are being addressed.



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